World Mental Health Day 2020: Dehenna Davison MP speaks about how she came close to taking her own life

The MP for Bishop Auckland, Dehenna Davison, has spoken to ITV News Tyne Tees about how she came close to taking her own life.In her first interview about her mental health, Ms Davison told us about her coping mechanisms now, and how she wants people to be able to access mental health support more quickly.

Reflecting on her darkest times, seven years ago, she said: "It's not the sort of thing that I think about often, I must admit, it's something that I've really compartmentalised and locked away. 

But I think the important thing is, for those of us who have experienced that, and got through it, and come out the other side, stronger, I think that it's really important, if we feel able to, that we can talk about it, to prove to other people that a lot of people go through this, a lot of people have been through this, and a lot of people get out the other side, and you can overcome it.

Dehenna Davison MP
Dehenna pictured with her father Credit: Dehenna Davison

When she was 13, Ms Davison's father was killed by a single punch at a pub.

She says she managed to largely stay strong until, when she was 20, her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer.

"It really hit me like a tonne of bricks" she said.

"I started in this really deep spiral, and it got to a point where I couldn't even face going to work, I was so mixed up."

She was prescribed antidepressants and sleeping pills, but says they made her feel worse.

Things just felt like it was all just too much, I just did not know how I was going to get through another 24 hours, and so - in my mind - the clearest thing was I just couldn't do it anymore. It's an awful thing to admit now, but in my mind, I was going to end my own life. So I started writing letters to my family and the one I struggled with was writing one to my nan.

Dehenna Davison MP

"She'd already lost her only son, I was her only grandchild, I saw what a devastating impact it had had on her, losing dad, and it was that that sort of stopped me. 

Dehenna Davison pictured with her grandmother Credit: Dehenna Davison

"I just had a complete breakdown, and just sat there in a heap for a while, until one of my then-housemates got home and found me."

Ms Davison was 20, and working at parliament on a university placement when her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Credit: Dehenna Davison

A few weeks later she was finally able to leave home and go to work.

I stepped out, walked up to the tube station, was waiting for my tube, and as it was coming in, there was a split second where I was thinking 'this is it, I could do it right now', but thankfully I didn't and I stepped back, and I remember really vividly - I had my hand on the back of the seat, like this, just holding on for dear life while the tube pulled in.

Dehenna Davison

She added: "And that felt like a massive turning point for me, because it was like 'no, there's no way I'm going to do that, there's no way I'm going to put anyone through that' and from then it was just a rebuilding, and being a lot more open with people - a lot more open with friends, a lot more open with family, about what it was I was going through."

Ms Davison says she hopes to campaign for improvements around mental health services Credit: Dehenna Davison

Last December, at the age of 26, Ms Davison was elected as the first ever Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland.

She said: "There are still moments when I feel mental health isn't great, where I feel like I'm having a rough day, or a rough week, whatever it is.

"But the good thing now is, having been through that really, really dark time, I can recognise that really early, and I've built up some coping mechanisms myself - so things like - I go out running a lot more now, which is a really nice escape - leave my phone behind - just have an hour or two to step away.

Now, she wants people struggling with their mental health to be able to get quicker access to support and treatment.

She said: "What I'd love to see really is to get those waiting times massively down for mental health referrals because, something that I found is that whenever one's mental health is on a bit of a decline, to be able to talk about that really early, and catch that really early, is so important."Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day.

If you are experiencing mental health problems you can contact the charity Samaritans on 116 213 or jo@samaritans.orgA range of other charities are available to help people needing mental health support: